Leading Voices Chime In: Why is Women’s Leadership So Important?

To celebrate the launch of #25not95, a campaign to propel us to leadership parity in ten years, we asked leaders across all sectors to tell us: why is women’s leadership important? Their responses contain many promising avenues for how we can advocate powerfully for women’s leadership in the years ahead.

Because real equality in the workplace and the home will make all of us better off. When we use the full talents of the population, our countries and companies are more productive. When men are 50/50 partners at home, marriages are stronger. When men are active fathers, their children are healthier, happier, and more successful.

– SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, FACEBOOK, FOUNDER & BOARD CHAIR, LEAN IN

Because the world needs feminine and masculine traits to solve problems of the world. The world needs women to lead more than ever to economically thrive, and become more sustainable and peaceful.

– CLAUDIA CHAN, WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT EXPERT & CEO, S.H.E. GLOBL MEDIA

Because women are half the talent of the human race, we’re especially crucial right now because we don’t have our “masculinity” to prove, and violence against females normalizes all other violence.

– GLORIA STEINEM, WRITER, LECTURER, EDITOR, FEMINIST ACTIVIST

Because women bring a perspective that values not only competition but also collaboration to organizations and teams.

– VERNĀ MYERS, CULTURAL INNOVATOR, INCLUSION SPECIALIST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, VERNĀ MYERS CONSULTING GROUP

Because feminine values are an operating system of a modern, social, open economy. And with women’s leadership, we can improve not only society, but business as well.

– JOHN GERZEMA, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BAV CONSULTING

Women’s leadership is more than important in today’s world, it’s imperative. Whether it’s the public or private sector, organizations that are led by inclusive leadership teams make better decisions that deliver better results. The qualities that are required to lead in the 21st century include the ability to connect, collaborate, empathize, and communicate—all qualities that tend to be “female” in nature. Women in leadership roles position organizations in a way that makes them fit for the future.

– JANET RICCIO, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, OMNICOM GROUP

Because the world has been without the full benefit of the talent, creativity and ideas of half its population for far too long.

– MICHAEL CROW, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY 

Because it is the opening act toward a more inclusive, equal, and balanced society. We either achieve this peacefully and proactively, or we can expect unrest from the marginalized segments in our society. Developing the environment that enables women to have a full and equal voice in our institutions, enterprises, and public electorate is easy, logical, low-hanging fruit. It improves everything and will form a society that enables us to listen to the other important voices, specifically those of other ethnicities and generations.

– SEAN SPEARS, FOUNDER, SAGECROWD

Because it creates long-lasting impact. Through women’s innate leadership, they mentor, nurture, and empower—thus leaving a legacy.

– DEBORAH BATEMAN, VICE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BANK OF ARIZONA

Because diversity in leadership breeds innovation.

– CAROLYN NOE, PRESIDENT, NERDY GIRLS SOCIETY

Because women can and will lead the way in creating a more sustainable future with their inherent capabilities such as collaboration, relationship building, empathy, and the ability to focus on the greater good.

– GRANT WATTIE, FOUNDER, GLOBAL WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

Women’s leadership matters because we are more than half the population, yet we’re still not seeing equal participation. That means we are using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story. Research shows that companies—and countries—do better when more women are in leadership positions.

– JULIE BURTON, PRESIDENT, THE WOMEN’S MEDIA CENTER

As long as this serious discrepancy in leadership persists, women and girls will remain marginalized, second-class citizens. The imbalance of power informs everything we teach our children and the way women and men are expected to relate in the world. It’s toxic to a spirited pursuit of confidence and success.

– CAROL JENKINS, WRITER, FORMER FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF THE WOMEN’S MEDIA CENTER, FORMER TELEVISION ANCHOR AND REPORTER

Because when they make decisions, women consider their effect on their children and future generations and are therefore more likely to lead in a way that will benefit not only themselves, but the world in general.

– AMY LITZENBERGER, CO-FOUNDER, TAKE THE LEAD

Because the top ranks of all organizations and political bodies look distorted with so many men and so few women, like it doesn’t reflect reality. Women, they say, hold up half the sky. I wish they would already! Men have been pretending we can hold it up alone, and we’ve obviously grown too weary and it’s falling down around us.

– MICHAEL KIMMEL, SUNY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AND GENDER STUDIES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF MEN AND MASCULINITIES

Because in order to create any lasting change, women in leadership positions must have a seat at the table. The statistics show that companies that have more women in leadership positions have better financial results.

– ELYSE MEYER, FOUNDER, PRISM GLOBAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS

Because the male voice still dominates the public square. As long as women remain a vocal minority in corporate board rooms, TV talk shows, and the halls of Congress, we pay the price of being voiceless. The world needs well-spoken women to state opinions in every venue, from PTA meetings to presidential debates. It is not that a woman’s perspective is better. What matters is that it is different.

– CHRIS JAHNKE, SPEECH COACH & AUTHOR, THE WELL-SPOKEN WOMAN

Because woman can lead just as well as men.

– CHARLOTTE LI, PRESIDENT, COLUMBIA WOMEN’S BUSINESS SOCIETY

Because it can transform perspectives and processes that allow for parity, inclusiveness, resiliency, and sustainability. It will drive change, break down barriers, and releases the constraint of choices available to women.

– MAY ADVINCULA, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, DELTA PHI LAMBDA SORORITY, INC.

Because we are role models for the generation of women that will follow us.

– STACEY GORDON, CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS, CAREER INCUBATOR

Because our networked, global society is highly complex. Complexity theory, neuroscience, and social science point to the value of diversity in managing complexity, and women are also socialized for collaborative approaches to communication, which are also essential to leading in complex environments.

– MARY BOONE, PRESIDENT, BOONE ASSOCIATES

Because we have a great deal to offer, make significant contributions to the bottom line, and can’t make change happen without stepping up to lead.

– SYBIL VERCH, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & WESTERN REGIONAL MANAGER, RAYMOND JAMES LTD.

Because changes are needed in leadership. Old paradigms need to be transformed into new ways of doing things and re-creating cultures in organizations. Women bring to the table extraordinary talents and skills that make them very effective leaders.

– JENNIFER SILVA, WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT COACH, JENNIFER SILVA COACHING

Women’s leadership is important to further the current societal transformation at home and in the workplace. There’s been a shift in our traditional family roles, but we’re not in alignment… yet. Women in leadership will provide an integrated view of work and family, resulting in an engaged and rewarding personal and professional future.

– DEBORAH GOLDSTEIN, FOUNDER, WOMEN’S ADVANCEMENT COMPACT

Gender parity in leadership is important because true progress cannot happen without a diversity of perspective in leadership roles. Any other model assures the perpetuation of the status quo with only inconsequential modification.

– LEON SILVER, PARTNER, GORDON & REES, LLP

Corporate mobilization towards increasing the number of women leaders is imperative because without it we are failing to diversify our corporate structure. Our organizations do not represent an accurate picture of leadership because we are completely neglecting a very prominent segment of the corporate makeup. Traits generally attributed to women leaders bring a unique perspective to today’s workplace environment of constant change and uncertainty.

– DR. NADIA BROWN, AUTHOR, LEADING LIKE A LADY: HOW TO SHATTER YOUR INNER GLASS CEILING

Because issues facing the world are tough and the world needs the toughest and finest minds to deliver solutions.

– BARBARA BARRETT, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FINLAND

If women achieved the same rate of high-growth entrepreneurship as men, the U.S. would have greater prosperity and innovation, and more job creation.

– GERI STENGEL, PRESIDENT, VENTURENEER

Because nothing (society, business, government) works without women’s equal participation.

– THERESA L. DOLAN, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL WOMEN

This is Part 1 of a series. In Part 2, leaders suggest steps we can take now to make our goal of parity by 2025 a reality.


About the Author

TAKE THE LEAD prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It’s today’s women’s movement — a unique catalyst for women to embrace power and reach leadership parity.